Finding Glacier National Park Fine Art
Fine Art Landscape Prints can come from many locations in Glacier National Park. There are amazing mountains like Mount Oberlin. Mount Grinnell and others. The iconic view of Wild Goose Island in Saint Mary Lake never disappoints. The entire area around Logan Pass including Hidden Lake is brimming with fine art landscapes.
Visiting and Photographing Glacier National Park
Additional locations for incredible photographs are Lake Sherburne, Mount Oberlin, Clements Mountain, Hidden Lake, Wild Goose Island, Saint Mary Lake, Mount Grinnell, Mount Wilbur, Swiftcurrent Lake, Sunrift Gorge, Saint Mary Falls, Hanging Valley, Trail of the Cedars, Avalanche Creek, McGee Meadows and many others.
Glacier National Park is referred to as the Jewel of the Continent. What a perfect phrase. Let’s dig a little deeper into the many reasons to visit and photograph there.
Of all the heavily traveled National Parks, it's probably further away from large population areas than most of the others. Kalispel, Montana is the closest airport of note, but it’s not an area of a large population. Cities like Spokane, Washington, or Bozeman, Montana are about a 6-hour drive away.
The famous Going To The Sun Road that crosses over the park through the mountains is only open from late June to late September, depending on the road being cleared of snow or covered by snow. As a result, those are the best months to be there.
The west side of the park is all about Lake McDonald. If you’re not into photography, there are a multitude of boating, swimming, fishing and water-related activities that can fill an entire vacation.
The views of the mountains surrounding Lake McDonald are astounding. There are an almost unlimited number of locations from both sides of the lake to photograph it from. The Spring, when the mountains still have plenty of snow on them, is on my list as a time to go. I don’t think it is very crowded then.
As you head up the road to Logan Pass, you come first to the Trail of the Cedars and Avalanche Creek. The big Cedar trees are impressive, and the bright aqua-colored water in Avalanche Creek begs to be photographed. The Creek cuts through the rock providing a miniature canyon effect.
As you continue up to Logan Pass, there are many photographic opportunities of the mountains and canyons. My favorite subject is this area is Mount Oberlin. A little way before Logan Pass is an overlook and parking area called Big Bend. The flowers are usually here in late July and August. This is such a fun area to get out and explore. Great photographs are everywhere.
The Going To The Sun Road crests at Logan Pass. What a place to soak up the views! If you don’t mind a moderate hike, the trail up to Hidden Lake is great early in the morning with the sun shining on Bearhat Mountain. It can be a little chilly and windy up there, so go prepared.
As the road makes its way to St. Mary, there is a nice trail to St. Mary Falls. About in the middle of Saint Mary Lake, is a stunning view of the mountains behind the lake with Wild Goose Island in the middle of the lake. This is the iconic view from the east side of the park.
North of St. Mary is the road to Swiftcurrent Lake. Behind the Many Glacier Hotel are iconic photo opportunities with reflections of Mount Grinnell and Mount Wilbur. These are best photographed during a calm morning with the sun rising behind you. Just watch the forecast and plan accordingly.
South from St. Mary is Two Medicine Lake. It’s a long way down there and be aware of horses and cows in the road as it is open range territory. Like Swiftcurrent, it would be an early morning opportunity.
There are other locations, but these are some of the best ones from my experience. It’s a fabulously beautiful park and worth every bit of effort it takes to get there. I would be happy if you would consider one of my photographs as a reminder of your time there.
Fun Facts About Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is one of 63 National Parks in the United States and was designated as such in 1910. The Park is located in northern Montana near the Canadian border and covers over 1,000,000 acres.
Glacier Park attracted Indian tribes such as the BlackFeet Indians and then settlers who traveled from the eastern United States in search of beaver pelts. Later, miners and others looking for land to live and work on arrived in the area. The completion of the Great Northern Railroad in 1891 allowed more individuals and families to travel to and settle in Montana.
The beauty of the area became more recognized over time and in 1910 President Taft signed a bill that recognized Glacier as America’s 10th national park.
In 1932, Glacier and Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberton, Canada, were designated the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park and were a part of the world’s first international peace park. This honor was created as a way to recognize and celebrate the friendly relationship between Canada and the United States.
In 1933, the 50-mile long Going-to-the-Sun Road was opened. Glacier Park straddles the Continental Divide and this scenic road connects the east and west sides through the middle of the park, crossing the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. The Going-to-the-Sun Road allows access to many of the 130 lakes and 700 miles of hiking trails and is registered as a National Historic Place, National Historic Landmark, and Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.
In the summer of 2021, the park introduced a ticketing system for private vehicles that travel on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. No cars can enter the route without a pre-purchased ticket with their name on it. You must also have a full tank of gas as gasoline is not available in the park. There is an electric charging station across from the Lake McDonald Lodge camp store.
The largest lake in the park is Lake McDonald and it is extremely picturesque. Lake McDonald is a favorite scenic site for amateur and professional photographers. It is surrounded by high peaks and the lake’s rocks provide extra color in shares of red, green, and blue. Another popular lake is the glacier-fed Avalanche Lake. Another “water” feature of this park are its many beautiful waterfalls which are best viewed from spring through early summer.
But roads and lakes and waterways are not the only attraction. Glacier Park is filled with many wonderful hiking trails….. some day hikes and some overnight. You might enjoy the 0.7-mile loop Trail of the Cedars in West Glacier. This trail is famous for its tall cedars and as you enter the heavily forested area, you will be walking on a raised boardwalk. The trail takes you to Avalanche Gorge with a mini-waterfall surrounded by moss-covered rocks. This is a great hike to take children on.
Another great trail for hiking with children is the Hidden Lake Overlook Trail (2.7 miles) which starts behind the Logan Pass Visitor Center. The trail takes you to a wooden observation deck overlooking the lake.
Glacier Park offers countless opportunities for outdoor recreation…. whether you simply want to capture the beauty in a photograph or partake in an outdoor adventure, this park should be on your “to-do” list—it is both a photographer’s and hiker’s paradise—a place where you can experience wilderness, beauty, and the sense of peace that comes from seeing the “Crown of the Continent” in person.